Ten reasons to like the Nikon Df by Steve Huff

Ten reasons to like the Nikon Df

by Steve Huff

Wowzers..it’s just after mid-week and I feel like I have worked 70 hours this week (and probably have) already due to the buzz, excitement and amazing camera announcements. From the Sony A7 and A7r to the Sony RX10 to the Nikon Df, it has been a wild past two weeks. When the Nikon Df rumors surfaced I knew it would not be for me because I just do not use DSLR’s long-term because I get tired of the size, weight and large lenses.

Ever since moving to small high quality cameras, I have never once looked back to DSLR’s except the week I reviewed the excellent Canon 6D. I really liked the 6D as the quality was outstanding but after a few days in NYC with it, I knew I could/would never buy it due to the weight of the body and lenses combined, let alone the size. My bag had to be bigger and my back hurt more than ever at the end of the day. That experience made me really appreciate my small cameras such as the Leica M and Olympus E-M1 🙂

IMG_348161

So when the Nikon Df was official, and the images popped up and we saw what it really was, A DSLR in disguise, I was let down even though I KNEW it would be large and bulky and yes, a DSLR.

Many originally thought it would be mirrorless and be a competing camera to the Sony A7 and A7r or Leica M. Many thought it would be slim and trim and house an EVF. But nope..just a reshaped DSLR with great external dials and controls and a retro design. So upon official announcement 75% of comments were people who were bashing the camera and complaining about the cost, price, size, buttons, cramped controls, etc.

I predicted a week ago that the cost would be $2800 for the Nikon Df body so I expected the cost. I expected it to be DSLR sized and it almost is. I expected it to accept new and old Nikon lenses, and it does. Because of the size and cost, and the fact that I pre-ordered the Sony A7r I decided I would pre-order the Nikon Df so I could review it immediately (I do not have a Nikon contact) and then sell it afterwards. I felt that this camera was something I really needed to review.

But over the past day or two I have been reading and watching more on the Nikon and realized that this camera body makes sense for many shooters and since all of my pre release predictions were 100% spot on, I will stick by my 4th prediction and say that this will be a very popular model for Nikon (pre-orders have been strong for the Df). Many are bickering over the cost…but why? Let me point out a few key points;

  1. The $2800 Nikon Df houses the amazing D4 sensor. The D4 is $6000 and HUGE, HEAVY and BEASTLY.
  2. The Nikon Df is weather sealed in a solid magnesium body.
  3. The Nikon Df has a cool retro look and manual controls that MANY have been asking for.
  4. The low light capabilities of this camera will be about the best you can get in full frame. Shoot anywhere, anytime.
  5. It is attractive in an odd ugly kind of way, but me, I like it.
  6. It can accept all Nikon F lenses. Modern, AIS, Ai and pre Ai.
  7. 16Mp means better low light, smaller files and plenty of resolution for 99% of needs.
  8. Worlds smallest full frame DSLR. 
  9. The Viewfinder is in reality sufficient for manually focusing classic lenses.
  10. NO VIDEO! To me, this is a plus! There are many others that do video well, we do not need it in this camera. It represents PHOTOGRAPHY.

Of course I can list the cons as well:

  1. Why only 1/4000th second?
  2. Why so FAT and THICK?
  3. Using modern Nikon lenses would look ridiculous with this body and should be illegal to use on it 🙂
  4. The D610 is $2000, $750 cheaper. 
  5. The Sony A7 and A7r are almost here 🙂

To those that are bickering over it not having dual memory slots, or faster USB or VIDEO or a million focus points..you are MISSING the ENTIRE point of this camera! To those that want that, you already have MANY choices (D800). Someone like me who uses and has ALWAYS used center point only focus, no flash at all, no video, and wants simplicity then this camera is it in DSLR land. Some complain that you can get a D800 for $3k but again, I would never ever buy a D800 due to size, bulk, and the fact that it looks like a typical large DSLR that will break my back. Not everyone wants flash, dual slots, etc. Did the F cameras from the 70’s have dual film slots? 🙂

For me, after really taking a serious look at the Df, for the 1st time in 6 years  it is giving me that itch to go for a DSLR again! But this is not your traditional DSLR and if I end up with one it will only be used with small primes, probably 2 old classic lenses and maybe even the still in production 50 1.2 AIS. It may be ugly to some but it is sort of “attractive ugly”. It looks rough and tough. It looks like it can and will inspire confidence. It looks like it would survive a war (not sure it would though).

Df2

Yes, the look has grown on me and while it would have been so much cooler if it were thinner, and had a few things like 1/8000th second, it will be just fine..I expect. It is true..you cannot please all of the people all of the time. No one has been able to do that just yet because there is ALWAYS a give and take. Want world class low light performance? You need less megapixels. Want super high res? Expect to give up high ISO performance a bit.

From looking at traffic to this site and outgoing clicks to check out these cameras the Nikon has created HUGE buzz everywhere just as the Sony A7 series did last week (and I suppose is why Nikon did their announcement a week later). The Df is perfect for Nikon shooters who have load of glass, especially old classic lenses. I would never personally buy a D800, D600 or any DSLR due to the fact I use my cameras every day for every day things..but the Df? Yes, because it does indeed take me back to a time when photography was about “photography” and it looks the part. If it feels and shoots the part I am in. If not, it will go to a good home I am sure.

So I will be a busy guy here with the Sony A7r, Nikon Df, Olympus E-M1, Leica M 240 and possibly the Fuji X-E2...man I love my job! Just hope nothing else new and exciting come out before the end of the year..not sure I could handle it 🙂

Steve

Order the Nikon Df

You can Pre-Order the Nikon Df at B&H Photo HERE 

You can Pre-Order the Nikon Df at Amazon HERE

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And now, a quick guest post and image from Brad Husick. For myself and many others, as stated above, we feel the Df is to bulky and thick. In a perfect world the camera Brad describes and shows below would be superb and it is doable, especially from Someone such as Nikon.

My idea for a “Pure Photography” Nikon digital basic

By Brad Husick

Steve, I was so excited to read about the upcoming “Pure Photography” Nikon digital, but when it was announced and shown I was disappointed to see it’s basically a D610 dressed up with a square body and some extra dials (too many in fact).

So here’s my visual concept for a Nikon Dfb (b for basic) that sticks more closely with the idea of a digital F3. No need for an ISO dial or mode dial (how often do we switch them?). No need for most of the buttons. Just set aperture and shutter speed and take pictures. And make it as thin as physically possible.

I hope you like it. I hope they build it.

Brad

 df2

252 Comments

  1. I love the quality of the images this camera can produce. I like the low ISO capability. I like the manual controls, ISO, ISO compensation, speed , etc.
    I like the option to use a small zooms and mostly, the small AI-S prime lenses I have, almost all of them.
    In the small shoulder bag; 20/3.5, 28-50/3.5 Zoom, 75-150/3.5 ser E, and the tiny 200/4 all AI-S lens and the beloved SB-400 flash light. All in a small shoulder bag.
    The D3s and the D4 are siting home in the big case, most of the time.
    I love the non existing amateurish pop-up flash.
    I love the missing video option.
    I like to see a better form design, more option, Battery grip, like the beautiful FUJIFILM X-T1.
    But.
    I hate the bottom part, with the memory card bay.
    I hate that, I can’t get an extended battery grip for it.

  2. I haven’t seen it and handled one yet! But I am excited with what I read about it ! Especially brings me back when I started photography in the 70’s ! I wish it handles well and I am sure to get one ! Having 7 nikon lenses in the cabinet and with my D7000 , this could be my full frame again ! I don’t think they will make another iteration of this in the future . What do you think Steve !

  3. I think Nikon as a whole is kind of rudderless at the moment, hamstrung by an arrogant attitude to customers and by inventory management reminiscent of Apple at its mid-1990s worst, but this particular camera will do well. The basic idea is very sound, and while the execution is a bit rough around the edges — I’m not a fan of the locking mode dial, or lacking an option to access ISO through the back display — it’s still good enough, tactile enough, and above all the only game in town in 135-format digital that’s even close to “light”, that people will buy it and like it.

    I think there’s still more scope for lightening the size and weight of F-mount cameras even without going mirrorless. It’s rather ironic, though, given the obsession with backward compatibility that has caused Nikon to cling to weight-inducing things like the mechanical aperture pin control, that the world’s lightest 135-format digital is also the one with the most backward compatibility.

  4. Useful discussion by all contributors, thanks. I was a photojournalist with the F2 up to my last, FM3, and so agree with those who like the external dials. However, the clincher is that the Df seems to be able to use AI and AIS lenses. Like many veteran techno-grouches, I have a bagful of “magical” lenses and put off buying digital … waiting/hoping for the day when a digital “FM3” would materialize. I wish it were the size advocated by Brad Husick, but JL Williams is probably correct about the constraints of the innards. (The magic lenses include a 15mm F5.6, 28mm F2, 100mm F2 and 135mm F2, all converted to AI). As NIKON’s marketing seems to show fountain pens, pocket watches and olde photogs with silver hair … I believe they knew I was out there.

  5. I think maybe 1/8000, interchangeable focusing screens, 18-22 MP and a vertical grip. Maybe two cards. Maybe just a bit less cost. But the as an old guy, the camera draws me. Bottom line how bad can a Nikon D4 be. I know it is cheap and few Pros would own one, but. Cameras a tools, feeling as if it part of you. Who cares what the others think. It is over priced a bit, not real deal like Leica, hey, hey.

  6. I think people ask too much for a camera. There is no such thing called super-camera. I myself get different camera for different uses. Nikon Df is designed for those who love retro look of a camera, with F-mount lens. That’s the whole point. I do use D4 and D800e, and plan to sell one of them to get this Df beauty. Not that I do not like one of them but because I need some room for Df. This Steve Huff’s article help me to take that decision.

    Do I think Df too big? No. Is this bigger than A7, Yes. So what? If you want smaller camera, just buy Sony or Fuji. I myself choose Fuji XPro1 and XM-1 for a not so serious photo hunting. For daily camera to shoot anything from home to my office, I bring Sony RX100. Anything serious, I bring Nikon, Fuji, and Sony at the same time, where the Nikon would be my main armament.

    Okay, ohhhh sweetpie Nikon Df…. come to papa….. come…. come….

  7. This is a good time for camera shoppers, if not camera buyers. On this, and other forums and blogs, I keep seeing people exclaim how “huge” the new Df is. That’s never the first or second thing I think about when I see it. Bigger than a Minox? Vastly. Larger than an iPhone? Sure. Bigger than an Olympus OM or Sony A7? A bit. What strikes me is, it’s the “right” size. Over the past 15 years I’ve probably shot fewer than 10 frames handheld. I work with MF 67 film, and slow primes, so a sturdy and substantial part of my 45# kit is my 4-section Gitzo tripod. Hikes at high elevation have become more arduous. Maybe it’s time for a change. In the course of studying and handling the current (and recent) generation of FF digitals the past year, I’m struck by how small and light they are. I know, everything is relative. However, I think there should be a certain amount of heft to a camera, especially if it’s going to be handheld, just to keep it from being “twitchy.” I’ve seen comments lately about 4/3s and Nex/A7 owners buying and attaching auxiliary grips that do nothing but give them a better handle on their little cameras. That probably won’t be an expense or practice for Df owners. The new Sony twins look promising, but the array of available, fully-compatible lenses isn’t fleshed out yet. On the other hand, Nikon’s “venerable” mount has an almost uncountable number and variety of good, fast and affordable lenses ready and waiting. Is the Df a great camera? Is ANY camera a great camera? The answer is dependent on “great at what?” The Df is essentially a ‘tweener. It doesn’t have the jaw-dropping resolution of the D800 twins; isn’t as bullet-proof as the D3x; isn’t as stealthy and quiet as the Leica RFs; as compact as an RX1r; and so on. It offers more resolution and adequate throughput over the beloved D700, though, is a scosch smaller than a D610; and can be adjusted and preset without raising it and looking through the viewfinder or an illuminated back panel. For some of us, of a certain age, it actually LOOKS like a camera, rather than a melted bar of black soap — a nice distinction. I’m looking forward to some rigorous reviews and comparison tests this winter. I hope the IQ (for its sensor category) is top-notch. I have a feeling that its being the “right” size and looking like a traditional camera are going to motivate a good number of sales. The price level will temper other decisions and drive some shoppers to D610s, Nexes, etc. That’s okay. The actual camera one ends up using is based on many decisions, and there are lots of good, affordable tools to chose from. For me, my brain is saying this one is pretty good, and my emotions are saying “try it, you’ll really like it.”

  8. It’s a camera and it will take great pictures. There’s nothing really retro about it. If you want “retro” buy an old film camera -the Nikon F and F2 come to mind. If you buy into this retro concept you’re really buying into Nikon’s marketing ploy. Best to go out and take pictures with whatever camera is in your hands. they all work, some slightly better than others but, at the end of the day your pleasure should be derived from the image you’ve captured/created not the tool that got you part-way there.Imagine James Joyce fussing over his latest typewriter rather than the brilliant passage he created in, say Finnegan’s wake!

  9. I saw the Df at a french photographic show in Paris yesterday, it just looks and feels really great !
    Far more that what i tought… If i wasn’t so in love with my MM, i would probably have looked at it.
    I didn’t like the Sony A7r, tryied it with my Leica’s glasses but didn’t find the results to be on par with my expectations.

  10. It’s on the right track. What do people want? Large sensor, small body & lenses. The body is still too big in the Df. There must be something they can do to make the body thinner. How about making the LCD removable and attachable via magnets, that would be cool and useful. push the sensor as far back in the body as possible. then the body could be thinner. use nostalgic lenses with an aperture ring. and we want something that gives us back the feeling of spit screen focusing, even if its electronic. try some new optical formulas for smaller pancake lenses, even if they aren’t quite as good or quite as fast. do those things and you’d have something close to a digital FE/FM. That would be nice. This is a good first try.

  11. Tooma is back!

    People that are complaining abt this cam are out of their GD minds!!! I’m the same guy that was shaking my head at the D800 haters. Nikon is nailing all their new camera releases and the DF is no different. It has the D4 sensor for a fraction of the price. The D4 sensor in my opinion is the best camera sensor in the world. With all those manual controls and relatively speaking a very tiny full frame body this thing is a godsend! Shoot at iso12 800+ all day/night in any lighting conditions. Perfect street and travel camera! Well done Nikon!

  12. Leaving out the Video is a big mistake – If you don’t use it, don’t use it. It cannot hurt to have it, and while it’s retro looking, I would complicate my life not having it – so sadly I can never even consider it.

    I not only use my camera to make “ART.” I use it for business. I travel, take photos of things, and sometimes need to document them. I like manual controls, and learned how to shoot on my father’s original Nikon Ftn. I like knobs and an aperture dial because they make my life easier, not because I am nostalgic – it just works well. So a camera like this is great – but then, I am traveling – I have something I need to document with video – I need a spare body or my phone – yuck. I get the point. But this beast of a camera is so jammed full of knobs and buttons there is nothing really antique about it – which is fine. But omitting video – which realistically, is no big thing to have added – limits it’s versatility for many people who just want one workhorse camera —- with dials.

    • There are those who like the fact that it has no video and there are those who don’t. If I need video, I use my iPhone. I don’t produce cinema quality video. I would accept it in this camera only if it added no cost, took up zero room in the body, added no weight, and had no extra dials. I use it for street, travel, and interior photography.

      • Considering the Sony A7 is smaller and cheaper with video, I don’t see how it would have made this camera more expensive, larger, or heavier.

  13. After much laboring over the A7r vs the Df I have finally come to the conclusion that the Df wins the battle for me. I sold my M9 because I love my M8 much more. I completely abandoned a very complete OMD M43 setup. I ditched my MKII and my Sig SD15 and all lenses for both.

    My down and dirty kit is now the M8 with 28Elm, 35LuxII, 50Lux and 90Elm. Every file I create with this set is one of a kind special.

    I thought for sure the A7r would swoon me with its unbelievable resolution. But at last, the allure of this retro Nikon has bitten down hard. With the 50/1.2AIs the black Df is sexy as hell. I have never seen a bad photo from my 28/1.4AFd. Likewise I have never had more control over bokeh than with the 105/2DC. Ultimately I will add the 24-70/2.8 and the 70-200/2.8VRII for rainy days. I think I’m gonna need a TC-14EII and a CL500D for close-up fun too.

    Anyway…..Finally I have found the GAS cure!

  14. I’m going from a D3s to a Df for no out-of-pocket $$$ (sold the D3s waiting for the Df) … and getting an upgrade to D4 performance, half the weight, smaller than a D800, and MUCH MUCH smaller then the D3s … no video? YAY!!! … a shooters camera. Got a ton of Nikon top glass, so I’m happy. and I like the looks.

  15. 1. $2800? There are plenty of full frame cameras with a price tag equal or less than that. Like, Nikon’s own D800. And that one is 36MP by the way.
    2. Almost every new pro level camera nowadays claims to be weather sealed; yet, almost none is at the same level as D4/1DX.
    3. I don’t know about everyone but looking at its cluttered top, this is definitely not the kind of “manual controls” I was looking for. I want functional and minimal design, intuitive control, and durable materials, from a company that USED TO KNOW how to offer all of them in one camera. Yes, a digital FM2 might be that answer, but “retro” is never asked for.
    4. Yes but not much better than A7/R. Shoot anywhere? I’d rather carry a pair of A7R.
    5. It’s “retro”, only for the sake of retro.
    6. And what a shame it is to have that fixed focusing screen.
    7. You repeated yourself. And please kindly note that 16MP equals a high quality print of 15.4 inches wide maximum.
    8. Yet still much larger than FM2, let alone any mirrorless camera, including A7/R.
    9. Really? Try focusing 85/1.4 please. And its designer must hate people wearing glasses with that 15mm eyepoint.
    10. Great, no video. But still live view? Fine, it’s CMOS anyway. Face detection?! You DID call this “pure photography”?! WTF?!

    • But not a one is designed like this, is as small as this (though it is still large) or has manual control fails such as this..which is what many of us have been wanting. There is much much more to photography than the cheapest full frame body or tech specs. Much more.

  16. Good way to describe this camera, but despite that, many of us do not see any reason to get it. The video future is for most a must, for many useless, so is it for me. You give just a few disadvantages, you forget that 39 point AF system that is not satisfactory in existing cameras in FF, the fact too that no MF assistance is given, split prism + fresnel, and so on.

    I love the design, but i had seen this with MF assist matte, 11 point AF system from F6, a system made for FF cameras, and retro at same time, 1/8000th, then a selection among 16, 24, 36 mpix, and the 24 mpix at 1600$ for the body as low end model, and here, it could have made my day. Since it takes all old lenses, MF is the main goal of such a camera, and the 11 point AF system from F6 was huge and reliable. All digital AF systems used by Nikon are made for APSC range only.

    This camera could have been a trend setter. Then, you too play the D4 sensor game and the 6000$ camera trick. Do not forget that Nikon makes that price, not the sensor used, D3 is half the price, and now, just tell me that the sensor alone is worth that 2500$ you pay more. You gave the A7 once too at 2200$ for the body alone, presuming that it would be the 24 mpix body only. On the end, you where right, but on the 36 mpix, what was a surprise and not foreseen. I gave the A7 once at 1600 to 1700$ and that is what it is worth and that is what Sony asks for it. With this body at 1600$ Nikon can not compete Sony, and that is not their goal, a dslr and a mirrorless target totally different customers anyway. This DF camera is overpriced, what is in it does not match what you see from outside, I said it and I repeat it, it is a donkey in a 2750$ suit, and I am not alone with that opinion. Being a Nikon user since 52 years i honestly say that is appeals visually but disappoints technically.

  17. Nikon should improve their Dx lens lineup, adding 16 mm 1.8, 20 1.8 and 24 1.8 all dx. The they could make a DX version of the above camera with an either 10 or 12 MP sensor. With the advancement in technology and a smaller sensor the high ISO would probably be comparable to the current 16 MP version. It would be then possible to make a smaller version plus if you add EVF and no screen on the back you could end up with the perfect small but high quality camera……

  18. I am long switched to Fuji away from Canon but this camera really starts to tick on me.
    I was a staunch Nikon but for Nikon Digital, I guess I do not like the color of them too well.
    Please pardon my statement.
    Seeing this Df reminds me, when I was a student and was common to see FE and FM body or even F2 and suddenly Nikon introduces this low cost E series. Not sure if anyone still remember that ill fated camera?
    There is something about that E series when I see this Df……

    I am not sure why either? Do anyone shares this opinion?

  19. Having owned a Nikon V1, and DSLR bodies the D100, D300, D700, and my current D800 – I admit I have a certain loyalty to Nikon … but for me personally this new retro-thingy is a complete yawnfest. (Sorry Nikon!)

    Forget retro, it’s just ugly to me. And it’s specs are anti-climactic when you consider the most recent releases from Sony (RX1, RX1-R, A7, and A7-R). If I were a betting man I would put money on Fufifilm to come up with something special by year’s end as well.

    So, I’m sticking with my clunky D800 for low light photography – and my Leica M9 when I’m looking for epic landscape capabilities.

  20. I just placed my order for the Df. But I am not buying – this is to rent it for 4 days. That way I can test it with all my manual Nikon AIS lenses and see how it performs at my own pace.
    Then, if I like it….

    • This is a great idea (wish I had stock in LensRentals, etc.), getting access for your own private field test. I think I’ll check the calendar for early January, myself.

      • I know, right?!
        😉
        Some shops do have a 30 day return policy but the item has to be in perfect, mint, like new condition for them to accept it. Which is fair. But… if you are going to test the camera if any little knick or marr happens, then it is yours.
        Renting it for a couple of days is a much less stressful experience, you can enjoy it w/o too much worry, and, well, I think it is a good thing to do.
        I think it is a good investment against buyer’s remorse on a $3K piece of kit.

        • Sorry, but pretending to be a buyer with the sole motivation and intention to only try and then return it is not cool at all. Generous return policies are to protect real buyers. The seemingly growing “try only and then return crowd” is financed by real buyers as retailers have to crank up margins to compensate for return costs and lost margins.

          • I agree, which is why I am renting. Then if I like, I buy.
            Plus this way I can look at it in a completely unbiased way as I am not invested in a purchase.

  21. It’s close enough to the DSLR that I’ve been waiting for- it can use my pre-AI Nikon glass, including those made before 1967. I don’t want to slice and dice the aperture ring, setting the aperture and dialing it into the camera is a good solution short of coupling with bunny rabbit ears.

  22. Sensor wise, it’s a D4 and you can’t go wrong with that, but the overall design is a complete mish mash. It looks like the front, top and back were designed by different people, all taking design cues from different Nikons. Personally I think there are far too many buttons, they should have looked at the simplicity of the Leica S2 and the mantra “Pure Photography” would have meant something more than just marketing bs.
    Pity.

  23. I just gave the black Df a try at Calumet shop in Germany, the body feels perfectly solid and well balanced with the 50mm lens, I was surprised how relatively light it was. For reportage style photogrphy this camera could be perfect. I guess you could set up this camera with blindfolded eyes. I hope that they will still change the manual focus assistant. I have no clue why they did not simply use the assistant from the D700, life could be so easy. Compared to a D700 the Df felt surprisingly smaller, like a naked motorbike compared to a modern racer. I bang my head on the table with one simple question A7 or Df, A7 or Df, A7 or Df……….thank Bayer for Aspirin.

    • Erik, for me the decision is easy: lenses. There’s a mountain of fast, economical and COMPATIBLE lenses in every focal length imaginable, already available for the Df. There are some lenses announced for the new Sony mount on the A7, but the delivery dates and prices, and limited focal lengths, mean you’ll have to wait months unless you are content with the few available right now, or enjoy coupling in an adaptor that may not communicate fully with the lens/body combination.

      • Except for the pre-Ai lenses, all those, sometimes wonderful, Nikkors can already be used on f.i. a D700 or a D800. Just plug in the requisite non-CPU data, you’re all set. And yes, you have to use the aperture ring on the lens!

        • @Mike953, that’s exactly what I already do on my D700 and it works like a charm! Btw. I still own a FE2 and a F3HP and I know how to use the aperture ring haha 🙂
          I guess we all complain here on a high level, nobody in this forum seems to be in urgent need to get a new camera to get the job done.

          • @ErikNeu: leaving price and the fact that I acquired the D800 in April (what a camera btw!) aside for argument’s sake, that D4 sensor is probably less cruel on older glass than the D800 sensor. The four f1.4 Nikkor primes I have (24, 35, 58 and 85) are great on the D800, but seem ill-suited to the Df from an esthetic point of view. I’ll probably reconsider in a year’s time, or will the D4 sensor be considered obsolete by then? 😉

    • Talking with the people in the shop it was easy to spot to camps: The haters wanted something like a Ueber-D800 and the fans of the Df had all the same reason why they wanted it, the D4 sensor in a smaller, cheaper body.
      For me personaly I am on the Df fan side ( I own lots of old Nikon lenses and I just would need to buy the body) but I will probably get the A7 because of the size and weight advantages for my future photo projects. If my heart could make the decision I would have ordered the Df in a heart beat right on the spot, the camera feels nearly perfect. In case one of my perfectly fine current Nikon bodies should die the Df would be on top off my list as a replacement.

  24. I don’t really think it’s polarizing. I think simply a lot of people are really turned off. Not so much at the product itself, but at the pricing.

    The response is overwhelmingly negative. It’s a euphemism to call it polarizing.

    Products like the FE2 weren’t polarizing. The D700 wasn’t polarizing. People respected those, even if they never thought to buy it

    • The overwhelmingly negative remarks are being made by those the new Df is annoying or disappointing. All the other folk are either satisfied, satisfied but not shopping, or just not interested or affected at this time.

      • Curious comment Lajo, as that logic could be applied to almost anything and everything for sale, or is there irony at work.

        • Not trying for irony, just making an obvious point about how blogs or forums work. As widely-viewed as Steve’s site is, to say that there’s a negative response to the new Df based on a few days’ comments, there isn’t a wide enough sample to be conclusive. Those who have put in their critical remarks outnumber the ones who have been complimentary, but my point was that people who might generally approve of it, or who are ambivalent, haven’t been motivated to participate in the discussion. The best way to gauge the overall public sentiment is to assess sales and rentals after six to nine months. It would be interesting then, to also assess the same sales and rentals reports on the Sony A7 twins. Nikon might have not scored highly with the folk who visit Steve’s blog, but I expect a lot of people to find the Df appealing and useful for their photographic needs.

          • I agree with your sentiment, but not you conclusion! I too would like to find the Df appealing, but feel it is not good enough in several key areas at the price.
            I think Nikon could do so much better,but hold back for cynical reasons which puts me off their present products.
            Market segmented price range ratios that never quite deliver the full on camera in the one model – something is always missing or not as one would wish.
            Reduce the range and make the products as good as the tech allows- more like Apple. Wishful thinking no doubt with Japanese companies, .

            The problem with Nikon and the root of so many complaints about some camera companies in general is probably a clash of business cultures/markets -west versus east. Difficult to satisfy both camps equally.

      • …or are also annoyed and disappointed, but just are not posting.

        This is probably what Nikon marketers are telling their management. Don’t pay attention to complainers, those are only the ones who are unhappy. Everyone else is happy and the proof is they are not complaining online.

        I would be very careful with such assumptions 🙂

        • It will certainly be interesting to look back in six months and see how things are playing out. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fuji or Sigma haven’t weighed in with a significant new player in the full-frame discussion.

  25. From a business view, this hasn’t been a very good year for Nikon and also their sales forecasts for high end cameras has been lowered.

    I’ve got the feeling that Nikon and also Canon are maneuvering themselves now very rapidly into the same position as when the digital era came on the radar. Too little, too slow and completely deviating from what the people were expecting, it almost killed this brand around Y2K. Canon had in those days a more dynamic attitude, and suffered less from this technology change, but it finally killed Minolta with the 7D that nobody wanted.

    Why does both brands produce camera’s and lenses now that are so much bigger and heavier to lug than the ‘real’ full-frames in the film-era of the 70’s? Why can Leica still make very small lenses and is every new Nikon (or Canon)-lens an attempt to let you buy a new camera bag?

    The Df is not the camera where the world has been waiting for. It has some ideas like the ISO and EV-dial that should have been welcome on the D610. The only advise we can give to Nikon is let their camera’s and lenses back fit into the 70’s form factors, like Brad suggests.

    Further, I do not understand the D4 sensor story. We have to assume that Nikon will sell this model for another two or three years, well by then a 16MP will look like a dinosaur in the camera-world. Why didn’t they put this camera on the track of a D600 or maybe even D800-sensor?

    I’m also still missing the story how you’re going to achieve a manual focus on the old lenses. It has no means to allow a manual workflow, so? The hybrid rumors were nothing else than a vaporware story to feed the hype.

    Yes, Nikon, and Steve, this is a too little, too less and I don’t hope too late story. Nikon doesn’t love the mirror less evolution to much, certainly not when it comes to a credible professional range, but if they keep on standing in the sideline, with such out of size-stuff, it wil ruin their business. They cannot longer deny that even the pro’s are starting to see this and the numbers are going down. The Df is clearly not the one that will make the difference.

  26. I think I’m going to start researching a thesis on WHY retro product design has become such a big thing these days. It’s such a recent phenomenon, some sort of nostalgia-contagion. It just seems to be worse for cameras for some reason, and i’m not 100% sure why. (It’s also getting very tired and lazy to just label everything that is retro/expensive as “hipster”. There has to be another word.)

    As a semi-pro photographer, this camera does nothing for me – specs or design. But I can see how an amateur enthusiast might be drawn to it, except for the price.

    This complete obsession some people have with gear is really funny.

  27. Nothing can please everyone. And, there’s no such thing as perfection—especially a consumer product. But, I think plenty of people would like the Df. I would buy the Df over D610 or D4.
    The thickness of the Df is not by design choice. The build/industrial design is hindered by limitations in technology.

  28. I’m guessing they didn’t give it an 8000th second shutter speed because the ISO can be expanded, downwardly, to 50.
    Still, it’d be nice to have that faster shutter.

  29. Tough crowd…! To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone be universally happy about any products that Nikon have released recently. Perhaps it is just the state of the internet?

    In previously years, the complaints were “not enough video” or “not enough high iso” or “not enough megapixels”.

    Now, the complaint is “not enough retro”.

    I guarantee you that if Nikon had released this product at $2300 to $2500, people’s probably would have been a lot happier.

    Other than that, I would say it is too early to say that it is a flawed product. The die hard enthusiasts will still buy it, and perhaps it may attract others towards the next generation of Nikon products.

    For those of us who don’t want to buy it, we have the options of choice, even if they do not live up to our expectations. Competition and variety is good. Why all the complaints?

    It simply means that the next generation from any manufacturer will have to be better, to win our hard earned cash.

    • In principle I agree with some of your points . But surely Nikon know what is expected from them by now,or do they function in a vacum? No market research , no interest in the internet buzz. I think their recently released figures reflect their blinkered policies. As far as I am aware their was no demand for the 1 series, nor the AW-1 and no prior clamour at all for the Df, other than wish fulfilment from some baby boomers.

      By contrast the massive pent up frustration over the lack of DX primes/fast zooms and a pro spec D300 replacement remains after years of neglect . The D700 line, fantastically successful, has been abandoned, the D800 is not really a substitute. The D7100/D600/D610 are deliberately segmented and dumbed down with missing features small buffers, no rear AF button compromised build etc. Top tier Pro ok for specialists areas ,press sports , landscape etc. Coolpix, not even worth mentioning in 2013 – ‘A’ apart, possibly.

      Nikon management seem to make new product decisions without any refernce to the market How can they claim to have spent as long as 4 years in development for the 1 Series and another 4 years on the Df? Meanwhile,the other players have not been asleep and have produced several viable alternative systems in the same time frame.

      Punters have surely been patient enough and are no longer prepared to wait, only to be presented with yet another predictable iteration of the same old thing. The next generation is here, only not made by Nikon.

      Why is it that the faithful,even potential new customers, know what Nikon should supply, but Nikon refuses to comply ?

  30. nope…not for me, maybe next time Nikon.
    maybe a split prism next time? …. “pure photography” … whatever that means to you Mr Nikon.
    in the mean time i’ll play with the D700, D7000.
    .
    .
    PS: sad to hear your share price has fallen 33% this year and your profit has declined 41%.
    sorry i can’t help you out this year…cheers.

  31. The Df looks great to me. Not as good as Brad’s version, but still has a good look to it. Unfortunately it kind of stops there. The price is well . . . a little too much considering what the guts of the camera are.

    At first I felt the D4’s sensor was a good idea. Then I realize that even the D600/610’s sensor is better for low light / hi iso. Not to mention the D800 sensor.

    It also lacks many other items that are in the D800 and D600/610 cameras. In the teasers there was the mention of it’s name “fusion” which I took to mean something else then what we got. But no EVF, no viewing screen that would assist better in MF, just a bunch of redundant dials. So to summarize, I just don’t get it. Even though I do want ot like it. It seems the D800 is still the camera to get.

  32. The Df, judging by the comments here and the reactions on net in general, is turning out to be an exceptionally polarizing camera. This though is not so unusual for Nikon and it’s’ recent products.

    Retro, by definition, holds no real advantages going forward -a design cul de sac? Back to the future products should be ‘classics’ in their own right with new features and functionality. To me the Df is a pastiche , a homage to former glories, little more. A parts bin special with knobs on , literally .

    Only Olympus/Panasonic/Sony/Leica (possibly even Ricoh/Pentax) appear to be in the 2013 game . Nikon and Canon doggedly giving us mainly what suits them, top Pro level excepted.

    Eventually the market will dictate and control the debate – DSLRs or Mirrorless for 90 % of punters ,switched or not, to mobile devices.

  33. There are many who prefer to shoot with a single 50mm lens. With the capable D4 sensor, this can be that one camera to withstand all rigors of life and look cool at the same time.

    One wish is that Nikon come up with a 50mm pancake lens for this camera. That will be cool.

    Mo

    • If you can deal with manual focus, Voigtlander makes an outstanding 40mm pancake called the Ultron that I find mechanically better to use and sharper optically than comparable Nikkor glass…

      • The big selling point for me was being able to upgrade to a functional D4 and downsize from my D3s without spending any money … and being able to use all my top Nikor lenses. My primes are 20mm, 50mm 1.4, and 85mm 1.4, but I will use the 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 as well, even at the expense of looking strange.

      • This hipster flipster pointless design fluff brings nothing new to the table except a few clicky wheels on the top and that short lived trendy yesterday design style which may bring a tear to eyes of some grey haired well heeled camera collectors who take a photo or two every now and then and wallow in their memories. Nikon knows how to please niche markets.

          • I still have a F2 and used it for many years and enjoyed it mostly with the 55mm Nikkor f/1.2. No envy, no desire going back that path. No sentimental bullshit on my part. I want a ‘kick ass’ high performance DX speed demon ( D400 ). I stopped waiting for Nikon about a year ago and hope that the real innovators at this time like Sony, Olympus maybe Fuji and Panasonic may fill that gap. Pentax has apparently a promising semi pro DX body ( K3 ) on the market. Nikon & Canon are still hibernating.

          • Disagree! Canon and Nikon are doing great things for SLRs. The current FF Canon bodies are amazingly powerful workhorses, the Nikon D800 has, until the a7r, unrivalled handheld resolution (excluding the leica S which is unaffordable). Most pictures we see on the web or in the news are likely taken with a Canikon. People have just come to expect “revolutionary” tech from these companies every year. The only reason sony, fuji et al have changed so much is because there is simply no demand for them in the FF DSLR space, since Canikon are the best. Read Steve’s gushing review on the Canon 85mm 1.2 – these are industry-leading products. The Nikon Df is a poser. It should have been priced at the D610 levels, as an alternate body. Instead, it’s a special-edition D610 with older sensor.

  34. Sorry, but I don’t understand why absence of video is an advantage? Its like to say, no GPS in a car is an advantage 🙂 Don’t like it, don’t turn it on.

    I would have loved this camera if it was released before 2008. Nikon is missing the point. Its not really RETRO that people are after, its smaller and lighter cameras, (some of which just happen to also look retro, because cameras were smaller in the past and now we can finally get them smaller again).

    I guess its to naive of me to expect Nikon and Canon to admit that as of right now only pro-DSLRs are relevant and the rest can be scrapped and be replaced by mirrorless. I guess its hard to kill your milk cow. They will milk her till the end, lets just hope it will not be too late for them, as it was for Kodak, Polaroid, Xerox etc…

  35. I don’t get the hype with the Df! It’s a D600/610 with a couple knobs, an older 16mp sensor and 1.5x the price! I think a lot of people are going to get it and be very disappointed that it’s not really a digital FE with huge split prism viewfinder. Also $3000 and no video? Even the “pure photography” Leica M240 has video!

  36. The A7 for me…I just don’t get the point of this camera…..Nikon and Canon please stop giving me the same camera over and over!!!

    • I agree , the ‘Big Two’ seem like rabbits caught in the headlights and unable or unwilling to react swiftly and positively to the new mirrorless world. Retro alone will not succeed.

      Innovate or a Kodak fate may await.

      • Swiftly and positively? 🙂
        They have not even responded slowly and moderately. (I own a Canon FF kit and a MFT kit).
        Both companies have not addressed this:
        Delivering a High-IQ compact ILC “system”. The tech is there..the writing has been on the walls for years…
        After alL the camera manufacturing companies had been making mirrorless for years Canon offered thr “M”….? “M”barrassing, no?

      • Swiftly and positively? 🙂
        They have not even responded slowly and moderately. (I own a Canon FF kit and a MFT kit).
        Both companies have not addressed this:
        Delivering a High-IQ compact ILC “system”. The tech is there..the writing has been on the walls for years…
        After alL the camera manufacturing companies had been making mirrorless for years Canon offered thr “M”….? “M”barrassing, no?

  37. I am really only missing the AF assist lamp, and they’ve should have put it instead of the IR Receiver (really useful in the studio in low light situations)

  38. My first “real” camera was an F3HP (with a motor drive , which I regretted). It was a serious little brick. I wish now I’d never sold it. It was however, essentially the same weight as the Df and it was both wider and thicker. Actual numbers are: F3HP = 148.5mm x 101.5mm x 69mm @760g; and Df = 143.5mm x 110mm x 66.5mm @ 765g. Funny thing is the D610 is 141mm x 113mm x 82mm @ 760g. Much of the extra “thickness” is actually the deep grip that the Df and F3HP lack. That grip makes the camera easier to hang on to and handle. The hand position on the D610 is a lot more ergonomic and less fatiguing due to the grip and rounding of the front shoulder of the camera which allows a superior shutter release position. Do grips help? Just ask anybody who has shot the E-M5 with and without its optional grip(s).

    I love that the Df has the D4 sensor. The 16mp would be easier on my older prime lenses and easier on my hand held technique. It’s low light capability would be welcome when I go try to shoot live bands performing on dimly lit local stages. But its AF and metering systems are D610, not the superior systems in the D800 and Nikon are asking me to pay D800 prices for them. Also that D610 sensor (well, D600, but they’re the same) has been very highly rated (second only to the D800, if I remember correctly) by DxO. It is a generation newer than the D4 sensor and despite smaller pixel pitches has a reduced noise floor and downsized to 16mp to compare apples to apples, gives that D4 sensor a very good run for the money with almost nothing to choose between them at iso 6400 and 13×19 print sizes; and in good light it carries more DR, color bit depth, and resolution than the D4 sensor (although not by much).

    Right now, I’m not sold on the Df. Dials do not a camera make. I don’t think there is any tangible performance gain over the D610 and precious little in size/weight. Neither did Nikon go all-in on analogue controls. Mostly the dials are redundant. You can run the Df just like any other Nikon DSLR with buttons and control wheels. If you try running the Df on only the analogue controls (except aperture for G lenses), the locking EC dial on camera top left is going to present a problem, given a shutter speed dial in full stops only, because you’ll want to use that EC dial a lot and freely from shot to shot in any changing light circumstance without taking your eye away from the VF which the locking left handed present positioning will not allow.

    Bottom line for me: I love the idea and would pay a smallish premium over the D610 to get it with the Df configured as is. If Nikon had upped the ante with D800 AF and metering, I’d be willing to pay a small premium over base D800 pricing for it. What I’m not is willing to pay a 37.5% premium over the D610, which is what the current camera demands. Maybe all the reviews will be glowing and maybe Nikon won’t bolix up the QC again since they’re making the Df at Sendai. If so, maybe the siren song of, if not simplicity, at least reduced complexity and that D4 sensor will prove too much for the forebrain after all and that little reptilian devil behind the whole shootin’ match will grab me by the throat and tip the dough out the other end, but I don’t think so.

  39. I never warmed up to the looks of my past three cameras, so the Df is right up my alley. I loved each and every ugly camera I’ve owned.

    I hope they sell.

  40. I agre 100% thi time ! I will Only like something smaller like my very old Pentáx MX but digital !! May be its ON its way !!

    Greg

  41. I can imagine, sometime in the future – as soon as 5 years perhaps, that Nikon (and all the other camera manufacturers) would allow photographers to custom-build their cameras. On their ‘Build Your Nikon.com’ web site – you would be able to construct your camera as you see fit. Want a ‘retro’ style? Click ‘Retro’… and choose just the right retro style in the extensive list that fits your style. Want a 100 mega-pixel sensor? Click on the ‘Sensor Options’. Want a shutter dial on the top of the body? Click on the ‘Shutter Dial’ option and position the dial icon to ‘Top-Plate’…oh, you changed your mind? Now you want the shutter dial on the back of the camera? Well, simply drag and drop the dial icon to the back Do you have big hands or small hands? Click on ‘Hand-size Guide’ for that perfect fit. When you’re done designing; just drag and drop your virtual camera into your caddy and pay for your camera. Nikon will then send a command to your home 3d printer to build the camera of your dreams. Camera printing would take approximately 1hour, 20 minutes. Dissatisfied customers would be allowed to shred their cameras (in the 3d shredder) for a full refund.

    • Leica has been offering that for years. You can pick the leather, rewind mechanism, winding lever, fonts, viewfinders for the MP and M7.
      With those cameras you also have a choice of sensors…

  42. Big news.. pre orders are weak for the Df and Nikon cut their sales forecasts for their high end cameras. Maybe it would be wise to wait for the price drop?….

      • The important part is the sales forecasts for their high end cameras were dropped AFTER the announcement of the Df. Which ties into retailers showing weak demand for it.
        The Sony A7 apparently has much stronger pre orders.

    • Also, during the last report they emphasised importance of maximising profits, Df is result of that:

      – check inventory
      – mash-up inventory
      – give it a new design
      – sell it as new

      there you go, Df, old D4 sensor, all the other electronics from D610 (I hope it’s not D600), few dials on top and price it ridiculously.

      If they really worked on this for 4 years (as they claim) then I really don’t understand what took them so long. I haven’t seen more confused camera than this:

      – it’s aimed at pure photography, so no video (which I don’t care about but comes free with the tech used in the camera so they could leave it there)
      – they feature old manual glass yet (further comments up) it’s a bit painful to use them with metering
      – they feature old manual glass yet they don’t offer changeable focusing screens
      – they feature AF-D glass, yet you can’t (according to reports so far) use aperture ring on those lenses
      – they release it with repackaged AF-S 50mm f/1.8 G lens (very retro indeed)

  43. Big news.. pre orders are weak for the Df and Nikon cut their sales forecasts for their high end cameras. Maybe it would be wise to wait for the price drop?….

  44. I appreciate Nikon creating a ‘fun’ camera to appeal to the nostalgic crowd, but at that price you’re talking D800E and A7R territory. I know 16mp is plenty, but it’s no 36mp sans AA filter.

    I also think with all the marketing they’re doing about the manual focus lenses, they should have ditched the green dot system and picket up a split prism.

    Anyway, overall interesting, but feels somewhat deflated.

  45. Weight is only an issue if you don’t carry the cameras properly, ie big camera around your neck will strain the lower back. I’ve solved that issue very well. Now, I have a great collection of Nikon glass especially the 28 f/1.4 and the 135 f/2 DC that begs to be used on something other than my D3x. Now I love my D3x but that’s not always my go to and I’ve about killed my D700 so to me this is the true successor to my old D700 and I can’t wait to try it out. When I want speed and accuracy I grab my Nikon, when I want portability I grab my RX1r or my Nex7 but this camera might be a great mix of both worlds for me.

      • That’s like saying holding ten pounds in one hand feels the same as if you use both hands. Yes the weight is the same but weight distribution changes everything. The point was that carrying a big dslr around your neck isn’t the best way to do it.

  46. Am I supposed to believe that there is some reason why having the capability to shoot video MUST interfere with the ability to efficiently shoot stills? Because that would be the ONLY rational reason to thank Nikon for eliminating any possibility of shooting video with this camera.

    Video implementation has NOT uniformly been so clumsy across ALL cameras that it invariably makes it more complicated and more of a hassle to control the camera when shooting stills. This is not reality.

    If the hardware is capable of shooting video, and we know it is, why would we arbitrarily give up this auxiliary function?

    The exclusion of video does not somehow MAGICALLY make this camera MORE PURE. This is fantasy. And it makes me kind of sad to see that people are so easily manipulated by a purely marketing driven decision that yields zero benefits in reality.

    • In my view a camera without video will last longer and needs less service repairs. This tool is made for eternity, therefore the “tried and trusted” parts in it. The other complain: scattered wheels: Nikon tend to make two-hand operation cameras, it s like a credo for them. I just do not understand why they not communicate their key decisions in building this camera.

      • ” a camera without video will last longer and needs less service repairs.”
        That’s just not reality. There MAY be a slight difference in the processor architecture but probably not. Also they didn’t have to hide a tiny microphone on the body somewhere.

        Not that anybody would bother since video sucks across all Nikon DSLRs anyway, but the Df firmware could probably be hacked to produce video.

        So why does it even bother me that Nikon did this. It’ a matter of principle. Life is unpredictable. You never know when it might suddenly matter to be able to shoot even mediocre video.

        Removing the video function was almost certainly done at the software level and we’re supposed to be grateful that our camera is more PURE because of this.

        No matter how you dress it up on the outside, on the inside it as an extremely sophisticated electronic sensor connected to a computer so powerful that 30 years ago it would have been called a super computer. So this software imposed limitation on what this super computer can do is pure silliness.

        • I see it as relieving the body of auxiliary mic holes or jack plugs, and not having a video button or video item on a menu. You can buy excellent, compact dedicated video cameras from any number of suppliers that would serve better. So Nikon made a design choice. If the video issue is a deal breaker on the Df, okay. Take a different model or manufacturer.

  47. How did they come up with Digital Fusion anyway for the Df? Why not capitalize on their “F” heritage and just have the Df mean Digital F? Digital Fusion? What were they thinking?

  48. Ten reasons to like the Sony A7R:

    The $2300 Sony A7r houses an amazing 36MP sensor. The Df is larger and heavier and $500 more expensive.
    The Sony A7r is weather sealed in a solid magnesium body.
    The Sony A7r has controls that can be used whilst framing a shot.
    The low light capabilities of this camera will be amongst the best you can get in full frame. Shoot pretty much anywhere, anytime.
    It is attractive but not in an odd ugly kind of way.
    It can accept a large variety of lenses with the appropriate adapters.
    36Mp means higher resolution with the trade-off of larger files. Many photographers seem to be seeking higher resolution and are happy with this trade-off.
    Worlds smallest full-frame ILC.
    The EVF is more functional and useful than an OVF.
    Video that can be disabled and then used when required.

      • That may be so, JJJ, but for me the issue with the A7/A7R is the absence NOW of good, fast, affordable lenses. Those “announced” will be months off in the future, possibly a full year. They say you can use adaptors and other lenses now, but have you seen how klutsy that looks? On top of that, I’ve read several places that you’ll forfeit some lens-to-camera functions going through the adaptors. Whether this Df is the best idea now or not, I’m impressed by the seven dozen different current and legacy lenses Nikon allows you to use with it, or the 610, or the D800, etc.

  49. The Leica M with the mandatory grip and EVF weigh just as much as the 6D. If weight is an issue (and I agree it is) ditch the M and travel with an A7R.

  50. is it possible for Nikon to make its FF DSLR thinner? It is noticeably thinner than most their APS-C line-up (excluding battery grip )…

    • I think the problem with making it smaller has to do with the electronics surrounding the sensor unit and the back lcd which takes up space. I don’t think that it is presently feasible for manufacturers to make it small like the mock up above or thinner like a film camera; otherwise, I am sure that they would do it. Maybe in few years! If they eventually make it smaller like a Nikon FM or Olympus OM I believe that it will have a major impact on the upper end mirrorless market. The lenses would however (especially above 50mm) still be larger.

  51. For similar reasons that it *doesn’t* have video, it *should* have interchangeable focus screens. Then it would really be an interesting SLR alternative to a Leica digital RF. I consider it a near miss, but I hope whoever buys one really enjoys it. It’s still a cool device.

  52. And be brave and loose the stupid “Mousekino” display……photography turned 150 without it……and it only clutters up the back of the camera and as a left eye shooter it is important to have a free zone to poke my nose in.

    Greets, Ed.

  53. thanks for the info steve, ive pre ordered this camera and was a little taken back by all the bickering on the nikon forums i had been to.
    d4 sensor, weather sealed magnesium body, no video, battery life are all huge positives for me and are the reason why i pre ordered
    looking forward to your review steve, great work

    • Yes, life must be good in the One Percent. New Nikon? New Aston Martin? New yacht? Just look at it and say… why not… and order.

      It’s not that easy for all us have-nots who have to spend our camera money carefully — we need to spend a lot of energy adding up the pluses and minuses of the various models, often without the benefit of being able to try them all in person (which is why we appreciate Steve doing so.)

      It’s especially tough now, when suddenly we seem to have a logjam of new cameras (if you can consider five a logjam) that all appeal to those of us who would rather use something other than a mainstream DSLR… but it’s nice that finally the manufacturers are paying a modicum of attention to us.

      • I didn’t say spend money uncarefully….I don’t look at Aston Martin, since it’s money wise out of my reach.

        But, Only the eyes are blind and it’s better to choose with the heart… in the end you will more enjoy what you have

        All these new camera’s have everything most of us ever need, 12, 16, 24, 36mp etc etc
        It will not make your photo’s better, but Photgraphing with a camera closer to your heart will lead to more passion in your shooting.

        That’s what i mean with why not…because the minute you bought it….another tsunami of new camera’s come out and makes yours look ancient…

    • The Df does not the address those buying a digital camera or at least a DSLR first time, but those who replace or upgrade, for various reasons, and who have a choice between a dozen alternative DSLRs with the same basic functions.

      So it is legitimate to pick on the details and question the benefit for oneself. Even pros who use their camera several hours every working day and thus may appreciate even small improvements in performance or usability nowadays work on thin budgets and fees.

  54. I’m so sick of all the whining about camera sizes. What did professional photographers do five years ago? Jeezus. It’s like, all of a sudden, because there’s an OM-D and a NEX, everyone thinks they’re ‘entitled’ to a pocket-sized camera to do pro-level work. Or, they’ll sacrifice a bit of IQ to be ‘more comfortable.’ Because, we surely must have evolved the bones and sinew from our bodies. We won’t need that cumbersome physiology in the future, right? Remember when pioneers dragged closet-sized cameras on wagon trains across the unexplored wilderness? Now, adults scream bloody murder if they’re expected to carry a CANON 6D!

    Okay. Rant over. Back to the camera:
    In the (relatively) short history of digital cameras, i can’t recall anyone ‘falling in love’ with the feel of a digicam. People like the ergonomics. They like the utility and efficiency. But, no one seems to have developed the same kinds of affinities people used to have for old film cameras. This Nikon, while still a ‘hybrid,’ is a step in the right direction. I can imagine, without even seeing one in person, that i would much rather hold/use/operate a camera of this type of design than the Canon 5Ds i’m used to. While it certainly looks overly complex with all the dials and switches, i can imagine most of that ‘goes away’ in use. I love the idea of switching ISOs with a dial, rather than in a menu. I love the shutter speed dial…. I just hope the whole thing feels like METAL and not some composite simulation. Metal and leather, people. That’s what a real camera’s made of.

    Why i won’t buy the DF:
    Price. Even though i have an FE2 and F100, i’m still a Canon guy at heart. If this were significantly less expensive, i’d certainly want to dabble with it. But, i can’t justify this INSTEAD of a 5D3.
    Resolution. I’m not familiar with the D4. But, 16MP in this day and age just seems under spec’d. I’m certain Nikon will eventually come out with a 36MP version, but they want to sell this version first/additionally….

  55. My personal motivations that let me stay far from this camera are:
    -Price: wrong in my opinion after sony a7
    -viewfinder: the user that miss old nikon slr most of the time miss the manual focusing experience with the split image bright prism.

    I really like this camera, i configure it in my mind many months before the first rumors (exactly when first omd comes to market).i appreciate the purist way about video, i love the manual control but at least i don’t want to buy it for the reasons above……

  56. I don’t understand the comments about how “thick” the body is.
    The minimum thickness of a DSLR is determined by the back focus of the lenses (and the size of the mirror)
    The Df is almost a full centimeter thinner than (for instance) the D7000, a relatively small DSLR. (67mm vs 76mm)
    The only way to make it thinner would be to design a new line of lenses, and obsolete the hundreds of thousands of legacy Nikkors.
    For me, the ability to use the lenses I already have is a huge selling point.

    The same goes for a mirrorless version. Nikon certainly has the resources to do that, but the expense of designing and producing a completely separate line of lenses is daunting, even for them.

    • Fujifilm, Olympus ,Panasonic and Sony have had no problem in developing new lens lines in a relatively short time. Even Nikon too with the 1 series lenses, but unfortunately their R and D resources have been squandered on that 1inch sensor size instead of being put to better use.

      • Fuji, Panasonic and Sony had no legacy lenses at all; Olympus had only the OM mount lenses, which are not compatible with 4/3, so they had no choice but to design new ones.

        And to say that they had “no trouble” developing new lens lines ignores the tens of millions of dollars those projects cost.

        Of course Nikon is capable of designing new lenses, but abandoning their traditional mount for a mainline camera would be a huge, costly and risky change of corporate direction.

        • You’re right, Scott. F, P and S still have a very thin lens catalog, and some of their announced focal lengths are still months+ away. Nikon should do a couple of really good DX designs soon, but their FX line-up is quite broad, and recent additions are being reviewed very highly.

  57. I must say Nikon has WON here before the game has begun.
    It looks Great, looks REAL – metal, solid, traditional and like a FE and it is a Nikon – proud traditional camera firm (not TV and Microwave makers like Sony and Panasonic), and an SLR, a real SLR, complete with what makes SLR’s successful AND it has the Nikon lens line up which in itself is a sure fire winning bet for choice and variety and availability.

    • I have never owned a Nikon but I do admire the fact that they have held on the same lens mount (with improvements over time) for over 50 years. This inspires confidence and loyalty. Olympus should have done the same with the OM mount. Most manufacturers have changed their mounts, and some to many times, making many of their lenses, if not cameras obsolete over time.

  58. it’s basically the same size as a D610, but much cooler in design and concept. I can appreciate using this for photo only as I rarely use the movie function on my cameras anyways.

    It’s true, this camera just wouldn’t look right and defeat the purpose and experience if you’re just going to slap on fat zooms and other more pro-dslr type lenses.. looks better and should only be used with good primes for the best experience I believe the DF was designed for.

    With that said, I just wished they didn’t just make a cosmetic change to the kit 50 f/1.8g lens.. it would have been ideal if they made the effort to make a new retro styled 50 with actual manual aperture controls on the lens… it’s odd Nikon thought so much about manual dials and the old school feel yet left a very modern lens as part of the package that denies the photographer of the full manual control experience… they did a great job at the cool dials for the ISO & Shutter… with all the time they did to put the DF together and a big deal on the control and tactile experience, they should have included a manual control for the aperture on the lens as well for the most complete full retro pure photography experience. I think that’s my only disappointment in the whole DF package… maybe they may repackage the DF kit with a proper manual aperture control 50 lens in a half year or so?

    Other than that, if I had extra $$ to make this a recreational camera, I’d get one right now as the look and feel of the DF matches what I’d like in a no-nonsense camera with cool retro styling.

  59. I…really…REALLY…like Brad’s version of the Df. As I’ve posted elsewhere, based on Nikon’s teasers, I expected the look to be more retro. Brad’s fits the bill. In Brad’s world, I’m assuming that the focusing screen is interchangeable as well, hehehehe.

  60. “4. The low light capabilities of this camera will be about the best you can get in full frame. Shoot anywhere, anytime.”

    But will they be in focus?

    Seriously, it’s got the D4’s sensor but the D600’s APS-orinented AF system. It’s all in the middle of the frame, it does not lock on like a D4 in low light at all, and the Df doesn’t have a pair of joysticks on the back for selecting AF point in landscape/portrait. Nor does it take interchangable focus screens to use fast (f/1.4 or so) manual lenses in low light. Nor is focus and recompose for real for fast lenses on full frame (you suffer obvious back focus, as I’m sure you know).

    Do you mostly shoot with centered focus, Steve? I know some Leica guys are like that.

    I spent Sunday shooting “indoor street” under mixed light at 3-4EV. I can (just barely) get satisfactory noise and enough shutter speed to shoot people who are talking on Nex-6 + 35/1.8 OSS. What really kills me is focussing on my desired subject in my desired composition before it goes away.

    A D4 is of interest to me, if I could only afford it and the servant to carry it. A Df, I just don’t think would cut it.

    However, I do think you’re right that it will make Nikon good money. I suspect a lot of the customers will be guys with iPhones, Barbour jackets, and 4x4s they don’t take off road, and they won’t use it much, but money is money…

    • For the Df specs it say high-sensitivity AF to -1 EV… but I don’t understand this AF spec. I’ve seen DSLRs that state AF to -2 and -3 EV. I assume -3EV is better than -1EV??

      • -3 is better than -1, but that’s not really the point.

        The point is that the D600/Df can only AF in the centre of the frame. In low light, you want to use large aperture lenses with little DOF. Focus and recompose doesn’t work with very shallow DoF — you focus on a plane, not a sphere, so recomposing swings the focus plane behind the subject.

        Nor does manual focus work for wide aperture lenses, because teh Df doesn’t have interchangeable focus screens.

        So with bright lenses the Df can only focus on subjects in the middle of the frame.

        This makes it a bad camera for low light, where you usually want to use bright lenses. And yet it has the best sensor in the world for low light, which is the only thing to justify the price tag. It makes no sense.

        • I agree. The fact they recycled only the sensor from D4 but not focusing system is a bit puzzling to me. At this price point they could have done better.

    • “I suspect a lot of the customers will be guys with iPhones, Barbour jackets, and 4x4s they don’t take off road, and they won’t use it much, but money is money…”

      Isn’t that what is called reverse snobbism or something along those lines. Sorry, but I never did quite understand denigrating others for the choices they might make. It reeks of some kind of personal insecurity (which is ironic….)

  61. I am an amateur in the sense that I am not a professional typists working all day typing, using all my ten fingers on the keyboard without looking at it. I am able to master a Leica M6 or a Nikon FM with their three essential controls for focus, aperture and shutter speed. I can remember the function of these controls after a week of work in the office which is my bread-earning job. A Nikon F4, F5, F6 or D4 is not for me. Perhaps AF speed, frames per second or writing speed to SD card are fabulous, but I would loose time fiddling with the settings and eventually miss the picture. Or forget to put things back to neutral for the next shot.

  62. Bjorn at nikongear.com seems to be a stand up dood and he gushed about the Df’s manual focussing abilities. So this camera is back on the radar for me.
    Steve, I have a 105 1.8 Nikkor manual lens that will really put the mf to the test. If it can shoot that sharp wide open then it is a success. Let me know if u want to borrow it.

  63. Not sure why, but the whole “pure photography” thing is really obnoxious and it’s a little bothersome seeing Steve repeat marketing catch phrases.

  64. I also really like the looks of this camera, Steve (the silver one in particular). It looks to be build with real craftmanship, for photographers that also posses the necessary craftmanship. This is really appealing to me. And yes, Brad, one of my first thoughts was: “what an awfull lot of knobs!”. So I think it can (and should) be done a lot simpler. I think the A7 has found the right fudion of functionality and simplicity. And on top of it, its style is kind of a modern evolution of a classical design. Very well done!

  65. I don’t think some people understand that even if this camera was mirroless, it would still be the exact same size, in order to use the F mount lenses. Don’t believe me? just look at the Pentax K-01.

      • I admit that I would rather have a retro RF as well (although a modern Nikon RF would be even better!) but don’t you remember how much of a PIA those S-mount lenses were? Having to lock the focusing mount to change them, pressing down that little prong, trying to get the coupling tube in the right spot, etc., etc… if we’re going to wish, let’s wish for a Nikon dRF with an M-mount, pun-lease!

        • Exactly my conclusion too. The ‘F’ mount cannot be retained for a serious and competitive mirrorless system. It has served Nikon well but time to move on into the 21st century and innovate to develop smaller cameras.

          A new full frame mount and lenses ,the film SP RF could provide inspiration for a heritage /retro connection vibe as you say . Use the sensor tech gleaned from the series 1 and put that line out of its’ misery along with the whole Coolpix range. Then, Nikon might be able to truthfully lay claim to returning to ‘pure photography’.

          • I, too, would love to see a modern SP-inspired camera from Nikon. That would be uber-cool.

            Unfortunately, there are some cold realities about mirrorless in 2013…

            Mirrorless is holding its own, but hasn’t measurably moved the needle with respect to ILC market share. Canon and Nikon still dominate the industry, with more than two-thirds of the worldwide market, and over 80% of the interchangeable lens camera sales in the United States (their biggest market).

            Meanwhile, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh, and Sony digital cameras ― and this is significant ― are not profitable. Olympus’ imaging division is consistently losing money―even as Nikon and Canon continue to remain profitable with camera sales (even though their sales are admittedly down).

            It’s worrying to see Olympus with what will likely amount to less than 3% of total camera market share, based on their numbers.

            And I seriously doubt Sony will ever be a major contender in cameras, for a host of reasons (legacy, lack of system commitment, continual changes to lines, public perception, etc, etc.).

          • It may be true that the market will continue to be dominated by the DSLR Gruesome Twosome, but that’s not going to make me submit to assimilation. It’s like saying McDonald’s French fries are the world’s best-selling food product, so we’re all obligated to choke some down at every meal.

            Companies can do well on a small market share as long as their business models are structured for that — Leica being a prime example.

          • I have a hunch Nikon could produce a “knock your socks off” camera if they charged what Leica does with theirs. One of the keys (I’m assuming) to their business plan is to not disenfranchise the owners of millions of excellent and viable current and legacy lenses. I trust that new cameras are in the pipeline for several years and are shaped, in part, by market research and observed trends. As big as the company is, however, they probably are not as quick with a direction change as a Fuji, Ricoh or Sony. I expect the new Df is aimed at a niche they’ve determined exists and one that will respond with purchases.

          • “Companies can do well on a small market share as long as their business models are structured for that…”

            Yes, that’s true. But they can’t operate at a loss indefinitely. That’s not a business model for success.

          • I fully understand the points you raise but feel change is well under way, but not yet in the USA as fast as elsewhere.

            The present losses within the camera divisions of the mirrorless brands are subsidized by their respective core businesses. Agreed this cannot go on forevever, but it would be a depressing scenario if the staus quo remained and no company tried to innovate and ultimately pull it off. Olympus, in particular, has originated many ideas later adopted by the industry as a whole.

            Stranger things have happened. Apple?

          • Actually, I agree with every one of these points you raise. Olympus has shown themselves to be a very innovative company over the years and I hope they continue to do so…scandals notwithstanding. 😉

            I guess my points were more for the benefit of those who chastise Canon and Nikon for not going “all-in” with mirrorless.

            Rest assured they’re watching the global trendlines with cameras carefully and almost certainly have designs on the table for mirrorless. But I doubt they’ll introduce a new lineup until they feel the timing is optimum…and right now — with the numbers where they are — it probably doesn’t make sense to do so.

            The 1-Series proves that Nikon knows how to engineer a mirrorless camera. Imagine something a little bigger (along the lines of Fuji’s X-Series), with a new lens lineup, an APS-C sensor like the excellent one in the D7100, and perhaps some styling cues from Nikon’s S-rangefinder series.

            But if Nikon were to build that right now, I suspect sales would lag the same way they’re lagging for the other mirrorless camera manufacturers. So if you’re running Nikon, introducing a product like that right now makes no fiscal sense.

  66. I agree on all the 10 key points.

    One big, big disappointment for me is the price here in Europe which is $4.423,47 with lens and including tax.

    That is just too much. I had hoped that the price would be the same as the D800 which is currently around $3200.

  67. I’m sitting on the Airport in Paris, waiting for my flight back to Hamburg. Was on the Salon de la Photographie where I got some few minutes to play a little bit with de Df. I have to say that it feels to much like plastic as the body has just a core of magnesium and the exterieur is made of polycarbonate. The design is not my personal taste, but many may like it, and so I’ve heard a lot of visitors at and around the Nikon booth talking nicely about the cam. In comparison to the A7, that I handled too, the Df is much bigger. The 16MP sensor might give great IQ. I’m looking forward to read your review Steve…

  68. Now that I have vetted the DF my conclusion is that Nikon RD had a meeting and said; “Boys and girls the D4 sensor is getting a bit long in the tooth so lets go with a retro cam and see if we can’t squeeze a little more juice out of it before we roll out the D4 replacement. Hopefully we can steel a little bit of Sony’s A7R thunder in the process…you know…for the Holidays”. Who’s with me?! 🙂

    • I am cynical too, but has the Df not been 4 years in the making , or are you implying that amongst their other talents Nikon’s top brass work around a crystal ball?

  69. Steve I disagree with your points:

    The $2800 Nikon Df houses the amazing D4 sensor. The D4 is $6000 and HUGE, HEAVY and BEASTLY.

    The D4 sensor is not amazing. D600’s sensor beats it according to DXO (select the two cameras and compare sensors) IN EVERY CATEGORY, from low light ISO to dynamic range. I know some don’t like to hear it but the 24MP sensor of D600/D610 is a better sensor than the older sensor used in D4. What is special about D4 is the pipleline of how the 16MP sensor is used in a camera with powereful processor (missing in Df) and superior AF system with 53AF points/15 cross (missing in Df) which results in instant and powerful AF features and speed (9FPS, again, missing in Df).

    The Nikon Df is weather sealed in a solid magnesium body.

    The truth is that D600/610 are weathersealed as well, perhaps not to the same level, but good enough for 99.99% of applications, from the Jungles of Indonesia, to the Polar Pole.

    The Nikon Df has a cool retro look and manual controls that MANY have been asking for.

    At the same time has zero grip which means anyone who wants to put a generally used 70-200VR lens or any other large tele lens will struggle. Oh and Nikon did not announced a vertical grip with extra handle (like Olympus OMD EM5 for example). IS Df limited to small primes up to 85mm?
    The many wheels are nice, I agree.

    The low light capabilities of this camera will be about the best you can get in full frame. Shoot anywhere, anytime.

    True, although Low light score of D600/610 is superior to that of D4 (although by very little)

    It is attractive in an odd ugly kind of way, but me, I like it.

    That is a personal choice, I am ok with the look.

    It can accept all Nikon F lenses. Modern, AIS, Ai and pre Ai.

    That is nice, however, how many of us have pre-Ai lenses? the rest are already covered by D600 and all the other bodies.

    16Mp means better low light, smaller files and plenty of resolution for 99% of needs.

    Shoot the 24MP D600 at 11MP mode for even smaller files.

    Worlds smallest full frame DSLR.

    True, again if you are willing to use it with small lenses.

    The Viewfinder is in reality sufficient for manually focusing classic lenses.

    The viewfinder is not larger than on D600/D610

    NO VIDEO! To me, this is a plus! There are many others that do video well, we do not need it in this camera. It represents PHOTOGRAPHY.

    This is silly. They could have easily included video and hid the video feature in menu soif you dont like video you dont need to ever turn that feature on. Think Fuji XE1, it has video but it is hidden in the menus somewhere. Does it bother you that the feature even exists?

    • Hey David…thanks for reading – my replies. I think many are missing the entire point of this camera…it is not a D600 or D800..it is an alternative for those who want classic looks, controls and to use old classic fast primes if they wish, NOT for those wanting to shoot a HUGE 70-200 or 200 f/2 or 300 f/4.

      ——
      The $2800 Nikon Df houses the amazing D4 sensor. The D4 is $6000 and HUGE, HEAVY and BEASTLY.

      The D4 sensor is not amazing. D600′s sensor beats it according to DXO (select the two cameras and compare sensors) IN EVERY CATEGORY, from low light ISO to dynamic range. I know some don’t like to hear it but the 24MP sensor of D600/D610 is a better sensor than the older sensor used in D4. What is special about D4 is the pipleline of how the 16MP sensor is used in a camera with powereful processor (missing in Df) and superior AF system with 53AF points/15 cross (missing in Df) which results in instant and powerful AF features and speed (9FPS, again, missing in Df).

      My reply: Well, I disagree. For real world use, no one needs better than the sensor in this camera. Anyone who says they do is just nitpicking for the sake of it. I can make gorgeous images with the old D2Hs 4MP sensor, and large 20X30 prints. The 16MP D4 sensor, which is better in low light in real use, is a great sensor.

      The Nikon Df is weather sealed in a solid magnesium body.

      The truth is that D600/610 are weathersealed as well, perhaps not to the same level, but good enough for 99.99% of applications, from the Jungles of Indonesia, to the Polar Pole.

      My reply: Sure but the D600 and 610 are ugly as sin and look like a cheapened DSLR – bubbly, fat, and look like plastic. Not everyone enjoys that DSLR look.

      The Nikon Df has a cool retro look and manual controls that MANY have been asking for.

      At the same time has zero grip which means anyone who wants to put a generally used 70-200VR lens or any other large tele lens will struggle. Oh and Nikon did not announced a vertical grip with extra handle (like Olympus OMD EM5 for example). IS Df limited to small primes up to 85mm?
      The many wheels are nice, I agree.

      My reply: Who wants a HUGE hinting grip? This camera has a grip. Who will be shooting long 70-200 zooms on this? I hope NO ONE. If you want to shoot a long Nikon tele lens, buy a D800 or D600, NOT this camera. Again, you are missing the point of the camera. It is not made for traditional DSLR lovers who want to shoot their 200f/2 lenses. It is meant for those who want a traditional camera to shoot smaller fast primes and smaller tele’s.

      —–

      The low light capabilities of this camera will be about the best you can get in full frame. Shoot anywhere, anytime.

      True, although Low light score of D600/610 is superior to that of D4 (although by very little)

      My reply: 🙂
      —-

      It is attractive in an odd ugly kind of way, but me, I like it.

      That is a personal choice, I am ok with the look.

      My Reply: It grows on me more every day. But until I see it and hold it in person, I can not say 100%.

      —–

      It can accept all Nikon F lenses. Modern, AIS, Ai and pre Ai.

      That is nice, however, how many of us have pre-Ai lenses? the rest are already covered by D600 and all the other bodies.

      My reply: Not many but there will be as they are CHEAP on the used market. Many gems there that are smaller, and very classic. Now we have a reason to buy some.

      —–

      16Mp means better low light, smaller files and plenty of resolution for 99% of needs.

      Shoot the 24MP D600 at 11MP mode for even smaller files.

      My reply: I would NEVER buy a D600. Again, missing the point of this camera.

      —-

      Worlds smallest full frame DSLR.

      True, again if you are willing to use it with small lenses.

      My reply: And most plan on just that.

      —–

      The Viewfinder is in reality sufficient for manually focusing classic lenses.

      The viewfinder is not larger than on D600/D610

      My reply: And this is a bad thing?

      —–

      NO VIDEO! To me, this is a plus! There are many others that do video well, we do not need it in this camera. It represents PHOTOGRAPHY.

      This is silly. They could have easily included video and hid the video feature in menu soif you dont like video you dont need to ever turn that feature on. Think Fuji XE1, it has video but it is hidden in the menus somewhere. Does it bother you that the feature even exists?

      My rely: TAHNK GOD they omitted it – thats all I have to say.

      • Very sensible reply Steve. Your quote: ” It is meant for those who want a traditional camera to shoot smaller fast primes.”

        Exactly.

        I might get used to the looks. Looks aren’t all that important; ease, speed and logic of handling is. The size and weight are good (it’s not “huge” at all; look at how cramped all the wheels and dials are), the sensor is great, nothing really wrong with the D600’s viewfinder, max 1/4000 no problem, 39 AF points mmm, will have to see. It’s got more magnesium alloy in its chassis than my D800 it appears; so a very solid tool then.

        I’m “lugging” around teh D800 with the new 58 these days. That lens, though certainly not small, fits the D800 well and weighs only 345 grs, making for combo weight of under 1300 grs. An M 240 with a 50 Summilux would be close to that.

        Once you get the Df in you might find a way of “real world” testing the 58. I’ve been doing that since Monday, and it’s very very special in signature, though I’m experiencing focusing problems that have to be sorted out.

        Cheers,

        Michiel

      • Agree Steve! I’m all over this camera!! I love the EM-1, the new Sony’s etc, but I have big hands and those smaller cameras just don’t do it for me. I have an X100 and an M9 and I rarely take the Fuji due to that reason. I have contemplated a DSLR to shoot my toddler who I can’t keep up with using the M9 (but I love it and will keep it regardless; different experience)! So now I have a FF option with great all around performance………………..and I think it looks fantastic; a tactile offering that will want to make me shoot it!! Perfect!! Oh, and price is simply that, you get what you pay for and what YOU see value in, not someone else!!

      • While I would agree that D4 sensor is better in low light in real use, but D800 sensor is good enough in low light, too. How about crop or post perspective editing? To me, 16MP has many disadvantages in real use.

        I’m not still sure if D4 sensor is amazing…

    • Chase Jarvis, a well known pro who has shot with every Nikon around, calls the D4 sensor “the best still sensor of all time.” Many other pro’s feel the same way, regardless of DXO ratings.

      • D4 files look great for some kind of commercial photography, because of its punchy signature. D800 files would look somewhat too nervous for that kind of work.

  70. Loving all the manual controls, just a shame no aperture ring on the new lens 🙁 However professionally I shoot with Canon in often very dark conditions (disco lighting at weddings etc) so seeing those wonderful dials could prove difficult?

  71. Brad your design rocks!
    Perhaps Nikon may release your disgn as a mirrorless modern Nikon S.

    Afaik Df may be a lmited run.

    • ps. Black Df looks fab with Non AI, AI, AIs
      and if focusing manual fast primes (f1.2 et al) is as easy as one reviewer said,
      then theres a whole lot of Nikon film era pro photogrpahers, personal photogrpahers gonna really like Df.

  72. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for your excellent input on these awesome cameras! I´m a huge fan of your website and I appreciate all your hard work! I´m excited to read your in-depth review on your own A7R when you get it.

    I´m buying an A7R and a Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 Nokton lens when I go to New York in a few months, due to the fact that the A7R with the Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1,8 ZA costs a wopping 4635 $ (3141+1494) from Swedish Sony! Very very strange but sadly true.

    The only upside is the chance for some vacation 😉

    Thank you again.

  73. ..yeah the 1/4000 th max speed was a BIG turn off for me, otherwise I’d really consider a trade up for my D800 (especially since I don’t ever (& never will) use it for movies

    • I don’t get it. Is it really that big of a problem to put an ND filter on? It costs couple of bucks and the problem with 1/4000 max shutter speed is gone.

      • and then you walk inside the cathedral or whatever building you were photographing, and you take it off again, and outside and put it on again….absolutely not a deal breaker, but mildly annoying (though with the EM5 at 200 base ISO the problem was a stop worse) and why? at this price level, with a camera that begs to be used with lenses wide open alot of the time.

        Getting used to the chunky look.

        However, even though I wont be going back to DSLRs, I can see the appeal of this with some small fast 35-50mm even 85 primes. Most settings on dials (poss too many, but the ones you’d want are all there, I guess you’d get used to ignoring what you dont need). And I can only applaud no video, never use it, the record button usually gets changed to ISO as soon as the camera is out of the box.

  74. I appreciate your second thoughts on the Df, Steve. Regarding appearance, I always thought the black FM3 was just about perfect. This new camera, in black, stirs some of those same thoughts again. I think it will make beautiful images, limited only by the user’s technique. A major plus is the compatibility with a huge pool of current and legacy lenses, something missing for those clamoring about the A7/A7R Sonys. It will be a year before there’s much choice for them unless they patch in adaptors, and we’re hearing some functions will be compromised. Meanwhile, I’ll amplify your observations with a reference to a colleague’s comments today. Check out what Thom Hogan has to say about what’s good about the Df. Great minds, and all that. Regards [http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/what-nikon-got-right.html]

  75. Definitely some advantages of the Df (and I love Brad’s Dfb design)

    Just a couple questions on your 10 points above though Steve:
    – I wonder why the D4 sensor is better / worth more than the more current D800 sensor and A99 sensor (found in the A7r and A7 respectively?)

    – Is the D4 sensor is the ‘best ever’ for low light shooting? DX0 Mark rates the D4 sensor slightly below the D3S, D800 and D600 sensor for low light… though granted they are all pretty close.

    • I’ve been wondering about this for a while. In theory it should be a cakewalk for the D4 to dominate in low light. Is the DXO Mark rating somehow misleading here? If the larger pixels of the D4 can’t win EASILY then wouldn’t we have to conclude it is a substantially obsolete design?

      I haven’t managed to find any definitive commentary on this issue.

      • And similarly (maybe) my 5 year old 12MP D700 sensor rates a little lower as well.

        My guess is that possibly more modern sensor designs are slightly more efficient, and produce less heat, allowing for more MPs with less noise?

      • also, having D800 and then downsample to 16mp, advantage of D4 in low-light disappears. I wasn’t impressed by official Nikon samples, especially landscape images -> soft

  76. Actually when I saw it my first thought was: finally a camera with a manual iso control. To me in digital photography having full and quick control over aperture, shutter speed and ISO is a must and I actually find it ridiculous how limited the number of cameras is that provide this feature. Even Leica doesn’t get it. My dream camera would be a Leica M with a hybrid view finder (i.e. you could navigate the menues and do the image review there) without any display on the back but instead an ISO dial right on the spot where it always was on the film leicas.

    • Except you can only change aperture using the ring on the lens on non-CPU glass (read: ancient). To me it’s a deal-breaker.

        • I’m not saying they aren’t on the contrary. Point is when I mount an AF-D lens, and I have couple of them, the lens that has AF and an aperture ring, I’d like to be able to use this aperture ring and this is disabled in Df – you have to use the front dial. That sort of ruins the whole ‘retro’ feel/experience for me.

          • Did you notice in the Nikon video, the presenter turns the focus wheel on the lens and then looks to try and turn the aperture wheel which is not there 😉

          • Lacking the possibility of using a real aperture ring is a major drawback to me. This only issue makes this camera just a regular DSLR disguised as an old one, The whole “pure photography” experience is based on the fact that you can control the exposure (aperture, speed, exposure compensation and ISO) with real knobs and dials.
            Fuji does it better.

      • somebody on NR forums also said that metering is kind of strange with all lenses -> you need to use dial to get metering and then set the aperture ring -> didn’t quite understand what that person meant, but probably to get metering working you need to use command dial at first to set aperture and obtain reading and then ‘apply’ on the aperture ring.

        • Only with very old pre-AI lenses that don’t have the small lever to communicate apertures with the camera.

  77. Steve,

    About new cameras lined up for testing: I fully expect a “Steve Huff Swimsuit Edition” aka the AW-1 review?

    Jan

  78. Thanks for all the Nikon Df info, but after consideration, although initially keen, have decided this is not really for me and I think you may yet decide likewise in the end . Interesting concept , poorly executed is my conclusion , too many negatives, weight ,size dumbing down spec etc . To cap it all price in the UK is the near eqiv. of $4450 for the kit inc lens ,body only option not available -NO THANKS!!

    A differnt proposition altogether is the SONY RX10, and I am looking forward to your take on that as a family/travel all rounder and video camera replacement. When is your review coming ?

    • Working on RX10 now but in no way can it compete with any full frame camera for noise, IQ, DOF control, DR and detail. I have to use cameras for a while before I review them and I have only had the RX10 for less than a week. Not enough use yet but half of it is written.

      • I completely agree, that is why i said ‘different proposition altogether’.

        The RX10 is another new model, in a recent slew, that has grabbed by attention for a totally separate non FX use, as a family/travel/holiday shooter .
        Thanks for your reply, I shall look out for your review of this potentially handy all in one solution for specific situations.

    • One correction to your 10 points, I do not think the body is all solid magnesium . From the pictures I have seen the whole front section is a plastic moulding, even behind the lens mount , which is one of my major turn offs considering the stiff price be asked.

      The GH3, EM1 ,K3,(possibly the EP5), and now even the RX10 do appear to have the full metal jacket . The Df may not be quite as robust as it pretends to be.

      • Not being all metal is probably a decision to keep the weight lower and it is not necessarily a bad idea.

        Materials like for instance carbon fiber is both stronger and lighter than steel.

        I don’t know if carbon fiber is used on the front, but I’m sure it is perfectly strong and would not worry the least.

        • It would be good if Nikon confirmed their reasoning behind the mixed material chassis construction but they seem to be glossing over it,and only mentioning the magnesium content.
          Magnesium is also a light but strong material check out the new Panansonic GM1, I have seen a shot of a man standing on one to illustrate the point!

          If the construction was especially tough using materials to reduce weight I think Nikon would have made a bigger deal out of the fact, so I am not convinced the Df is quite is as robust as implied – I could be wrong.

      • Magnesium is the lightest (non-exotic) metal there is. It’s properties allow precise machining of critical structures like the lens mount; materials like carbon fiber do not.
        Magnesium is somewhat fragile in terms of scratches and dents, so polycarbonate and other plastics are much more appropriate for exterior surfaces.
        Nikon says that the camera has a “magnesium alloy body”, but doesn’t describe it as “solid magnesium”.
        The (stainless steel) lens mount is firmly and precisely mounted to the magnesium frame.

        Really don’t mean to be rude, but speculation about what materials a camera is built from by looking at pictures is a waste of time.

        • The skeletal photographs I have seen clearly highlight the top, back and baseplate as magnesium. The ss mount is shown fixed to a black moulding, could be magnesium but looks nothing like the other magnesium components .. This is unlike all similar pictures I have seen of Nikon’s previous Pro cameras where the body chassis structure is clearly shown as wholly magnesium or similar alloy.

          This is not speculation and I think it has been mentioned in some launch copy. descriptions which is where I picked up on it.. I agree I, or my sources, could still be incorrect but it is not 100% clear at this point.

        • Scott, the stripped down photos of the Df show that the metal lens mount is NOT attached to the metal chassis, but to the plastic composite. Those photos are widely available online, including nikonrumours.
          I’m not planning on playing hackesack with mine, so it does not matter too much.

    • I think just about any dslr from Nikon/Canon these days is more than durable enough for most, regardless of the mix of metal and plastic. I remember seeing once a video about a Canon Rebel that was dropped from a plane and survived.

      As to the front of the camera having less metal, keep in mind that if one drops the camera on its front, most likely a lens will be attached and that will take the brunt of the impact.

      But really, this Df as well as all other dslrs, will be tough enough for over 99% of use cases.

      • You may want to take a look at a new article on this very subject re the D800 by Thom Hogan on his bythom site under the heading’ Botswana Safari wrap up’ Nov 7th .

        He comments on how fragile the supposedly pro spec D800 can be in certain circumstances. The rear of the magnesium frame cracking or breaking beyond repair form any kind of adverse pressure on the lens mount through even a moderate fall or impact. Rather alarming as he has not come across this phenomenon in a pro body so often in the past.

  79. Steve… You have nicely described the new Nikon, and pointed out the many features in which makes this a great camera. Personally, I feel that your comment about the lack of video capabilities has echoed my own view on Nikon’s decision to not include video on this model. Traditional cameras don’t do video, and in my opinion, that’s the way it should stay!!! If someone wants to do video, buy something that does video only!!! And for this reason I would consider purchasing this new Nikon, but due to health reasons, will stick to my decision on the OMD EM1. I have seen high ISO comparisons between this camera and Nikon’s other DSLR’s, and this new one is a high ISO king! But the thing I love about the camera the most is the manual dials. If only they did a mirrorless version to cut down on size…… and maybe made smaller/lighter lenses to go with it too. But that might be asking a bit much considering.
    Anyway…. Another great read you have provided.
    Cheers 🙂

  80. I can’t disagree with any of the ten reasons but I was hoping without the video functions it would be less expensive. It has me looking at DSLR again after a long time also.

    • I like Brad’s design, but I think camera manufacturer should push this minimalistic and ergonomic concept even further.
      Why not get rid of the back LCD screen and buttons and externalize them in an optional pad device that could fit in a jacket pocket (or wait to download at home). With this concept, it would be easy to have FF or APSC DLSRs with compact body size…..and imagine rangefinders…
      The budget could be kept reasonable, as such a camera would become a pure RAW catching machine.

      • +1

        This will come when Canikon figures out how to display the menu and the picture into the OVF. Even without this function I would buy your screenless RAW machine. But I think we stand alone here. I have high hopes that Canon will follow with a Bradalike camera, without the retro style thankfully.

        • + 1

          No screen, therefore smaller battery possible, Canons minimalist button layout without Video button. Seems we are almost there where Brad wants to bring us.

          • Screens use less battery than EVFs. At least on my Nex-7. They actually are really thin and use very little space. Hinges, touch screen, etc. use space. That especially includes the extra housing and attachment mechanism for a detachable screen.

  81. Brad: To my eye, your Dfb is definitely better. ‘b’ for basic yes, and not ‘b’ for behemoth which is what the actual Df seems to be alas. However, I must say that the Nikon Df is the only digital Nikon I’ve see that actually looks as if it might be a nice camera to take pictures with, even though it’s what the French would call a ‘usine à gaz’ (a gas factory). Your design comes closer to the original ‘F’ camera design spirit that so many of us loved.

    • Brad’s design idea wouldn’t work. It reflects what people think they want, but not what can be done or what’s really useful.

      — Leaving off controls wouldn’t make the camera any thinner. The body thickness is determined by the LCD package + sensor package + mirror box + lens mount, and Nikon is pretty much stuck with all those dimensions.

      — Leaving off the ISO control is the worst idea ever. Too many people’s thinking is still mired in the film era, when ISO was something you almost never changed. With a digital camera, the ISO should be your MOST-used control: choose the shutter speed and aperture you WANT to use for the desired pictorial effect, then adjust the ISO to get the desired brightness of JPEG images. (That’s really the only thing the ISO control affects.)

      Speaking of things that aren’t really useful, the Df’s explosion-in-a-knob-shop concept is another example. The “modernist” Nikon DSLRs at least have logically designed controls: once you know where the buttons are, you can change every setting with the camera at your eye. With the Df (presumably) you’ll need to take the camera down so you can turn knobs. It’s really a step backward, although of course that’s what a lot of people think they want.

      • Agree. There are many dials and knobs on the Df, but not a single one too many.

        Take a look at the Nikon F4 film camera which was designed by the famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. It has at least as many dials and knobs. Actually it has more as there is also a manuel film rewind dial, which opens the back of the camera when pulled up.

        The F4 may have a nicer overall design, but I think the layout of the dials and knobs on the Df are better organized.

      • When was the last time you took your camera (without turning it “on”) and knew what the settings were? Df too many knobs? This is what a lot of people (including me) were waiting for …

        • My point was that with the standard Nikon design, you can change settings with the camera at eye level, by viewing the finder readouts as you turn the control dials. Maybe it will be possible to do this with the Df, too, if Nikon displays all the knob settings in the finder — but it will be harder because you’ll have to move from knob to knob, rather than changing everything from the two command dials as you can with the standard Nikon layout. In design terms Nikon is taking a step backward, giving up functionality to get more emotional appeal. But it’ sclera from the emotional reactions here that the strategy is working!

          BTW, Giugiaro worked only on the cosmetics (the famous red stripe was his idea); the F4‘s knob placements were determined by the layout of the camera’s internal components. Now that all the controls are electronic inputs, designers are free to locate them wherever will allow the most efficient operation… Nikon has chosen to walk away from that in the name of “retro.”

          • I don’t agree, I think the controls of the modern camera design are a huge step backward from the previous era of camera design that this camera is atttempting to go back to. To be able to see your settings without having to look through the viewfinder or the top of an lcd is for alot of people a natural way to work (by all means have critical settings viewable in the viewfinder). To change the aperture on the lens itself as opposed to a setting on the camera that will change the len’s aperture is another example of the way alot of people find natural.
            ISO, shutterspeed and aperture – the three main things people need to adjust when shooting. They’re all there on the DF – obviously they had to put an electronic aperture adjustment with all the newer nikon lenses that dont have aperture adjustment via the lens.

            I think its going to be a hit, and might even let people understand a bit about whats going on as opposed to just hitting a button and hoping for the best.

  82. Yes, too big for me even if I had the finances, but let’s just say that *if* I were to use a DSLR, this one would top that list. It’s just that I don’t want them as I’m a mere camera enthusiast with no pro needs. But I have a feeling this camera is awesome in handling, though.

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